By the age of two, Collins' son, Morgan, could read and multiply but would not respond to his own name. When he was diagnosed with autism, Collins and his wife resisted then slowly let go of their denial and set about getting Morgan the help he would need to develop fully. Collins also set out to explore the world of autistics, social outsiders often as profoundly misunderstood as Peter the Wild Boy, a nearly mute feral child discovered in the Black Forest in 1725. In his search through an English courtyard, the streets of Vienna, a Wisconsin prison, and Microsoft's offices in Seattle, Collins recounts the history of psychological and neurological theories, controversial interpretations and treatments of autism, and the pantheon of geniuses and eccentrics who were diagnosed as or suspected of being autistic. He intersperses his research with accounts of his attempts to connect with his son, to draw him out of the enigmatic world of autism.